The Belgian Food Guide

Belgian Waffles

Taking a backseat to its more popular neighbors, France and The Netherlands, many Euro travelers neglect to adequately explore Belgium's excellent cuisine. Don't miss out on this culinary capital with our Belgian Food Guide.

My ex-flame hails from just outside of Brussels, Belgium, so I've eaten quite a few meals there.  While I don't know that I could ever live there - it's a bit flat for my taste - I would admonish any foodie or beer enthusiasts to plan a visit.

The Huffington Post published an article today listing the "13 Foods That'll Make You Want to Visit Belgium."  I chuckled at the headline because it's absolutely true. From my experience, Belgian cuisine combines the best of French decadence and German sustenance - well flavored and sauced meats, seafood and sausages all served with a side of frites.

Oddly enough, the savory side of Belgian cuisine takes a backseat to it's more well known sweet counterparts, Belgian chocolate and Belgian waffles. Godiva and Lindt are just two of the more established names but there are over 2,000 chocolatiers in the country alone. Belgium is the birthplace of the chocolate bar and pralines. It's chocolate industry blossomed in the early 1900s with the availability of large quantities of cocoa exported from then, Belgian Congo. It's reputation for quality and taste is maintained by regulatory law requiring a minimum of 35% cocao used in recipes.

The most common Belgian waffle you'll find is the Liege waffle, named after the southwestern economic capital of French speaking Wallonia. You think you've tasted a waffle, but you haven't until you've had the thick brioche-type, sugar coated treat. In Brussles store-front vendors sell the Liege waffle with a variety of toppings. Honestly, the waffle alone is so rich, I can hardly finish one without a stomachache. But this is no reason not to try it for yourself.

For the beer enthusiast, there's no secret of the wonder that is Belgian beer. A few notable favorites are Stella Atois, Chimay, Hoegaarden, Leffe and Duval. But lesser known to outsiders, is Kriek (pronounced almost like "creek") Lambic. While fruit beer isn't unique to Belgium the fermentation procees using Lambic is. Kriek, taking it's name from the Flemish word for cherries, uses sour Morello cherries originally found in and around Brussels. For me, a cold glass of Kriek with steak frites (with champignon sauce) is pure heaven.  How good is it? It sits at the top of my list of favorite holiday meals.

Check out the gallery below of a few of my favorite Belgian dishes that you should try on your next trip!


Photo credit: The Huffington Post